Staff Spotlight: Reiko Chosokabe

Reiko Chosokabe is a communication specialist and coordinator at the North Carolina Japan Center, which is a unit of the Office of Global Engagement. The NC Japan Center serves as a focal point for interaction between Japan and North Carolina, and is a statewide resource intended to assist all citizens, universities, companies, and public and private institutions in relations with Japan.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to North Carolina in 1992. In Japan, I majored in child education and child psychology at Otsuma Women’s University, concentrating in special education for pre-elementary children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. I did internships in a kindergarten, preschools, and a facility for people with disabilities as part of my practical training. My professional career began at Marubeni Electronics where I served as a marketing coordinator, and then I became a facilities coordinator at Nortel Networks. Working within global companies, I learned different corporate cultures, policies, and management styles, which now helps me effectively support the NC Japan Center to aid people with various backgrounds. After I moved to NC, I also worked at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Sanki North America, where I gained experience in administrative duties.

How long have you been with NC State and the Office of Global Engagement?

I have been working at the NC Japan Center since 2001.

Tell us what you do in a few sentences.

I plan and organize various cultural and educational workshops and receptions for special events. I coordinate scheduling and resourcing for Japanese language courses we offer. We constantly receive a wide range of inquiries from both the general public and various organizations, and I sincerely try my best to respond to all questions. I also closely communicate with Japanese delegations from business, academic, and government organizations to support their business recruitment and business opportunities here in North Carolina.

What’s your favorite thing about your work?

I truly love helping people to succeed. It is extremely exciting and rewarding to act as a bridge between Japanese and North Carolinians to help them achieve their mutual goals. It makes me very happy to see North Carolinians who participate in our events to develop an understanding of a different culture and aspire to learn more about Japan, and Japanese people who interact with the Japan Center to discover the great things North Carolina has to offer.

Tell us one thing we might be surprised to learn about you.

I worked as a Japanese composition and mathematics teacher for 20 years at the Japanese Language School of Raleigh, which is a Saturday school that caters to Japanese students who are here for their parents’ international assignment. I also worked as a substitute teacher in Orange County Public Schools where I mainly taught Japanese, music, art, and supported a special education class with autistic children. Once when I was young, I was a contestant on the Japanese version of the TV show “Family Feud!!”

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like traveling to different places in North Carolina to explore. I also enjoy visiting other countries to discover and experience new scenery, architecture, arts, regional cuisines, and cultures. I have a wire fox terrier named Guinness. I enjoy taking him to walk and playing with him. I even teach him neat tricks!

What’s one thing on your desk you brought from home?

Daruma doll – it’s a round, red Japanese traditional doll modeled after a Buddhist monk. It’s a good luck charm!

What’s your favorite travel destination?

Martha’s Vineyard